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To believe that you are innocent until found guilty in court

(124 Posts)

Very sad to find that so many people think that if charged with child abuse someone is guilty.

The words child abuse make us all go cold and I am the first to think death is to good. However it gets like a witch hunt ever time someone is accused.

I say change the law to make only those found guilty put all over the press.

I have a relative accused at present and waiting to go to court. In our case so much local support from friends and relatives but not everyone has that. (The accuser is the one who has spread it about where we live, not us).

I know people feel they would want to now but surely you only let people you trust around your children.

If charged people can not work with kids and it is normal for bail to include not being around/alone with under 16s.

HousewifeFromHeaven Sat 16-Feb-13 22:40:41

Yes it is innocent until proven guilty of course however it is human nature to speculate.

It's not right I know but you can't ignore the elephant in the room!

AgentZigzag Sat 16-Feb-13 22:43:48

I'm not suggesting anything about your relative at all, only how I can imagine it happening, but sometimes people might think that the police don't go around arresting people for no reason, and if they think something's gone on, there's a possibility it has.

Like you say, just the words 'child abuse' are so serious that it makes people take notice, and because they think there's no smoke without a fire they want to be seen and feel as though they're making a stand against it.

They're wrong of course and most will rethink it and know they are, but there'll always be some who don't.

catgirl1976 Sat 16-Feb-13 22:44:20

YANBU

But I van't help thinking.................^19 counts^?

AgentZigzag Sat 16-Feb-13 22:49:23

I've re-read the OP and can't see where 19 counts come into it catgirl.

catgirl1976 Sat 16-Feb-13 22:49:49

Sorry blush

Just hard at present to think a jury may be made up of the people who say guilty as soon as the words child abuse are said.

If a judge says no case to answer on presenting of evidence the public seem to think "well he got away with it".

Everyone accused might as well just pack a toothbrush and march of to prison with out going to court. In cases of historic abuse any way.

catgirl1976 Sat 16-Feb-13 22:52:56

It must be a horrific thing to be accused of if you are not guilty

I would word it slightly differently to you OP - I try to remember that legally someone is innocent until proven guilty. Whether I actually believe they're innocent or not is another matter and pretty irrelevant.

I see your point though and quite agree. The 'no smoke without fire' brigade really wind me up.

catgirl1976 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:00:53

I'm not often in that brigade

I just wonder if evidence has been examined and it is felt there is enough to charge someone on multiple counts over a long time period it suggests a little more liklihood of guilt than perhaps a single allegation

That said, I agree with the OP and am not proud of my feelings

My relative has always been such a strong character. We are doing all we can to hold him strong but he is a broken man. I was thinking the other day people must kill themselves under this pressure.

To have someone hate you so much they can do this to your family makes you shakey. In our case hate and money are the motives.

catgirl1976 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:04:57

I am sorry about your relative (and for not reading the OP properly)

I don;t think people should be named unless found guilty tbh

Sorry catgirl, that wasn't aimed at you! It was intended as a general comment, I hadn't seen your post above. blush

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 16-Feb-13 23:07:27

I agree that "innocent until proven guilty" is a very important cornerstone of our legal system.

But... Prosecutions can take months to complete, and is it really appropriate to allow someone who has been charged with something like child abuse (or medical negligence, or financial malpractice) to continue in their posts (and potentially endanger others) while the charges are concluded? I think I would not want my son to be taught by a teacher currently fighting a child abuse charge (or my mum treated by a doctor being charged for medical negligence).

I don't really know how best to reconcile these positions.

catgirl1976 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:07:48

No..........i really ballsed up and didn't read the OP properly and assumed this was a reference to a current case in the news

My apologies OP

Dromedary Sat 16-Feb-13 23:09:11

It's not "innocent until proved guilty", it's "assumed innocent until proved guilty". From the point of view of the legal system, that is.

Not commenting at all on the OP's relative's situation, but people want to make up their own minds. For instance if a man has been in court a couple of times on charges of rape (which in most cases does not get to court, and rarely results in a conviction), and is acquitted both times, he's not someone you'll want to be going on a date with, I shouldn't think.

Narked Sat 16-Feb-13 23:09:16

Innocent until proven guilty is about our legal system in England and Wales. The burden of proving that the accused did wrong is on the prosecution. As opposed to eg the French system where the onus is on the accused to show their innocence. It has nothing whatsoever to do with what people think about a person. It simply says that the state will not take action until a person has been found guilty.

The majority of rapes aren't reported. That doesn't mean that those people weren't raped.

DizzyZebra Sat 16-Feb-13 23:09:23

I think in cases such as this, and others (Such as rape etc), There is a delicate balance. On one hand - You have someone who is not proven guilty - And I do believe identities should be kept absolutely secret, And anyone releasing details should be held accountable.

On the other hand, You have someone who is saying they ave suffered an unthinkable ordeal - You can't just go around calling people liars.

I think things like this need to be better dealt with for both Victim AND the accused in all pre trial proceedings.

ChewinTheFat Sat 16-Feb-13 23:09:43

I think a lot of people instantly think 'no smoke without fire' which isn't fair but as soon as you hear child abuse accusations you tend to think it must be true . General 'you''. I don't know, same with downloading child pornography etc, how would the police get it wrong?

Narked Sat 16-Feb-13 23:13:16

It also encourages other victims who may not have reported their attacks to come forward.

Flojobunny Sat 16-Feb-13 23:13:47

We see so many times, people get arrest but there's not enough to go on to get charged. You think by the time they are charged then there must be some sort of evidence that will stand up in court so its hard not to speculate on whether its solid evidence or someone out to make trouble. Then it goes to court and can u ever be sure that the guilty are guilty and the not guilty are not guilty. Only 2 people will ever really know what happened.

Cherriesarelovely Sat 16-Feb-13 23:14:53

I had a friend who was on jury service for a child abuse case. He told me that it was not clear cut at all and "not like on the TV" where you sort of know the answer. He said when they were deliberating he kept thinking that whatever they decided they were going toruin someone's life and what if they were wrong? Yanbu. If someone is an abuser then that is one thing but to be falsely accused? What an utter nightmare.

steppemum Sat 16-Feb-13 23:15:09

i have another slant on this.

someone I know discovered her dh was an abuser (she discovered when police came to house and arrested him)
she was in total shock, had no idea, her life and marriage came crashing down. they had 3 dcs, and her only aim was to protect them. (they were not abused)

His name was never in press (for some reason we still do not understand) no-one knew except those who the accuser told and those my friend has told.

He was guilty and is serving a long sentence. very few people still know. This has been incredibly important for her dcs. They have lost their dad, in circumstances that they do not understand, and cannot come to terms with. But because there was little publicity, they have been able at least to stay in own home and own schools, with own friends

It is not just the accuser who suffers when there is an accusation flying round. The wife (or husband) and their kids may be entirely innocent and tarred with same brush

AgentZigzag Sat 16-Feb-13 23:15:44

It doesn't seem fair to make their names public, it can be a problem when teachers are accused of things by pupils can't it? That it's too late afterwards, and like you say OP, people think they've just got away with it.

Shit sticks.

But thinking of someone like Michael Jackson, it's easy to think there was something in the system (in the way things were presented in court) that it was just a technicality that he wasn't found guilty.

Not that I necessarily agree with that.

My relative has been charged with 8 counts. Not sure if allowed to say what they are but only 4 I would call abuse. 4 of the count are things that most of us do with our kids or friends kids all the time.

I think once they have accusations of abuse any previous physical contact is then put down to grooming? It is all very odd? 4 counts are clothed, not touching genital area must just be written up as frightening or something. Not read statements she made so don't no details. Judge should just chuck those out of court straight away lawyers say.

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